U.S. Sugar to close Bryant Sugar Mill

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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CLEWISTON, FLA. — U.S. Sugar Corp.’s Bryant Sugar Mill is ceasing operations with the end of the recently completed 2006-2007 sugarcane harvest season.

With its initial harvest in 1962, The Bryant Mill processed its first crop consisting of 800,000 tons of sugarcane — equal to 165 million lbs of sugar — that year. Operations grew to more than 3,000,000 tons of cane this season, which yielded 560 million lbs of sugar. During the last 45 years, the Bryant Mill has ground more than 90 million tons of sugarcane.

Starting in October, all of U.S. Sugar’s crop will be processed at the consolidated and automated manufacturing facility in Clewiston. The facility is expected to process 42,000 tons per day, making it one of the world’s largest facilities and make U.S. Sugar the lowest cost sugar producer in the U.S. and Mexico.

"Unfortunately, trade agreements and foreign sugar have required automation, and that means the elimination of jobs," said Robert Coker, senior vice-president of public affairs. "The employees of Bryant Mill have been an integral part of our family for more than four decades and have done extraordinary work."

Mr. Coker also said recent free trade agreements and ongoing negotiations with other sugar-producing countries are leading to more foreign sugar coming into the U.S. market. Increasing efficiency in operations is designed to keep U.S. Sugar competitive in the future.

"While this is the end of the Bryant Sugar story, it makes an exciting new beginning for U.S. Sugar’s high tech sugar manufacturing operations at Clewiston," Mr. Coker said.

For all of U.S. Sugar’s operations, this year’s 190-day harvesting and processing season yielded about 13.5 million cwts of sugar. The 2005-2006 crop, which was damaged by Hurricane Wilma, produced 5.6 million tons of sugarcane and 11.7 million cwts of refined sugar.

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